Cluster-assembled metallic glasses
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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:339 doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-339Published: 30 July 2013
A bottom-up approach to nanofabricate metallic glasses from metal clusters as building blocks is presented. Considering metallic glasses as a subclass of cluster-assembled materials, the relation between the two lively fields of metal clusters and metallic glasses is pointed out. Deposition of selected clusters or collections of them, generated by state-of-the-art cluster beam sources, could lead to the production of a well-defined amorphous material. In contrast to rapidly quenched glasses where only the composition of the glass can be controlled, in cluster-assembled glasses, one can precisely control the structural building blocks. Comparing properties of glasses with similar compositions but differing in building blocks and therefore different in structure will facilitate the study of structure–property correlation in metallic glasses. This bottom-up method provides a novel alternative path to the synthesis of glassy alloys and will contribute to improving fundamental understanding in the field of metallic glasses. It may even permit the production of glassy materials for alloys that cannot be quenched rapidly enough to circumvent crystallization. Additionally, gaining deeper insight into the parameters governing the structure–property relation in metallic glasses can have a great impact on understanding and design of other cluster-assembled materials.